Is the Future of the Video game Digital?
There are rumours that next generation consoles from Sony and Xbox will not have a disk drive (you will have to download all your games) and will have features like “always online”, to combat piracy. There’s also emerging services like OnLive that are becoming more popular! So does all this point to a completely digital future?
No more disks, no more trips to the high street to purchase the latest video game sensation that all the cool kids are talking about! Can this be true? Are we there yet? Well, in short no! This all sounds plausible, and it certainly is the future, but it won’t happen in the next generation of consoles. It won’t happen in the next 10 years! The market is just not ready for it yet.
In the UK broadband distribution borders on being a joke, the national download speed average is 7.6mbs. There are a lot of other factors to why we are not ready, chief of which, is download sizes.
An Xbox game will be around 7 GB in size. Depending on where you live, downloading this can take hours if not days. I live less than a mile away from my local exchange and I enjoy relatively fast Internet speeds, but when I download a new map pack for my current shooter of choice, the combination of the size of the file (1.2gb) plus the demand of eager gamers chomping at the bit to get on the battlefield, means I have to wait for about half an hour before I get to go pew pew pew.
Where the future of gaming is unquestionably digital, is with the gems you can unearth on services like Xbox Live Arcade or PSN Store, you can discover games such as Trials Evolution, Fez and Journey. With small studios, making pseudo indie games, with fewer overheads, and more creative control. These games are a lot easier to develop and you get a more diverse flavour of games, the three games mentioned couldn’t be more different from each other.
So to summarize, the future is digital and it’s here to stay, but a completely digital console is not going to be sitting pretty under your telly any time soon! For now just enjoy the little gems you can unearth from your digital gaming service of choice, and rest assured you will still be queuing up outside GAME for COD 10.